Two minutes with… Mark Gee, Associate Director, MRM
MRM has recently launched a new report on outsourcing to discretionary fund managers (DFMs). Why did you choose this topic?
Following the RDR the number of advisers outsourcing to DFMs has increased, so we thought it was a topic worth considering in more depth. As it’s a big issue for many of our clients and others in our network, we decided to hold a debate on the subject.
Who was on the panel?
We invited five influential figures from the industry to share their views. Taking part in the discussion were: Lawrence Cook of Thesis Asset Management, Stephen Gazard of Sesame Bankhall Group, Barry Neilson of Nucleus, Gillian Hepburn of DISCUS and Paul Miles of Silverback Consultancy.
What aspects of the debate did you find most interesting?
There were a number of interesting aspects to emerge from the debate, but it was concerns surrounding transparency and standardisation that particularly caught my attention. My colleague Sophie Robson wrote a blog focusing on this aspect of the report and noted that the data provided by some DFMs is difficult for advisers to compare and assess. Some on the panel called for compulsory reporting standards. We will be watching this space closely to see what (if anything) changes in this respect in the coming years.
How have you been promoting the report?
We’ve been sharing through our digital channels and with our contacts, but it’s great to see others in our network getting involved in promoting it as well. We are also delighted to have generated considerable media interest, with coverage in FT Adviser, Professional Adviser, Wealthnet, Funds Europe, International Adviser and Financial Planning Today. In addition, Abbie Knight at DISCUS wrote a blog on the subject.
What’s next in MRM’s series of reports?
We have a number of exciting reports planned for the coming months. MRM’s digital team is launching a new report this week on corporate sponsorship and then in September we bring together a leading panel of experts to discuss whether the workplace can help close Britain’s savings gap.
What is the one column or website that you read every day?
I’m a big fan of The Times iPad app and always download the latest edition before I set off on my morning commute. Twitter, BBC News and various trade publications keep me up-to-date through the week, but I like the fact there is a quality publication that gives you in-depth analysis on a broad range of issues on a tablet. In the digital world that we live in, there has never been more news content out there so you need long-standing brands such as The Times to curate reading material.
What is your biggest pet peeve, or makes you angry?
I get really annoyed by inefficiency and when simple tasks take far too long to carry out. I moved house earlier this year and therefore needed to get businesses to change my address on their systems. I found it a painful experience. One bank didn’t allow me to use online banking to change my details and, even when I called them, they told me that they needed to send me a form. But they couldn’t post it to my new address as that wasn’t registered, so I was forced to go into a branch. The technology is there, but things still need to be made easier for consumers.
What would you do if you received a windfall of £1000?
I love to travel, so if I had a windfall I would probably put it towards a holiday on the other side of the world. I’ve been fortunate to visit many far flung places, but haven’t been to southeast Asia so that would be top of my bucket list.